The Green House

From pumping homes with much-needed oxygen to absorbing electromagnetic radiation and deflecting unwanted insects—cultivate a green oasis in your home to reap its many benefits. MAKE A START: Gardening isn’t difficult. All you need are containers (preferably mud ones), soil and saplings or seeds. Select your plants based on the space available and inflow of sunlight to nurture a healthy sanctuary in your home. There are many ways to introduce greens in your home; for instance, vertical walls and herb or kitchen gardens. You can even incorporate different kinds of flora like the inverted (hanging upside down), insect-repelling, hydroponic (grow in water) type or air-purifying variety and more.

SKY’S THE LIMIT: You’ve probably seen vertical gardens on display around the city. These are ideal for small homes and tiny balconies. Featuring a grid system, a vertical garden can be installed on any kind of wall—indoor or outdoor—and is a brilliant space-saving technique suitable for small spaces. Stretching across a single wall, the structure holds pots within its framework. You can customize its size, pattern and color. With the drainage system integrated within the grid, it’s a non-messy arrangement. THE GREEN CALL: Utilize your balcony walls to create a trellis or wall shelves to display plants. Set up tables and stands of varying heights to achieve a layered look. Include sculptures or figurines, succulents on counter tops or ledges and terrariums or vases with flowers as centerpieces.

Source: The Times of India, Friday 4 October 2019

‘Commercial realty developers may raise Rs1.5 lakh crore through REITs’

With investor interest in the residential segment declining because of limited property price appreciation and inability to monetize assets, real estate investment trusts (REITs) can provide a better investment option. Rating agency Crisil, in its report on India’s REIT Opportunity, stated that the top 10 commercial real estate developers and operators in the country can raise as much as Rs 1.5 lakh crore through REITs route by monetizing 184 million square feet (msf) assuming a capitalization rate of 8.5 per cent and stake dilution of 75%.

Crisil said these assets, with annual lease rentals of around Rs 17,000 crore, represent around 30 per cent of Grade A properties across major micro markets in the country. “Portfolios with annual rentals of over Rs 1,000 crore, translating into a minimum asset valuation of Rs 10,000 crore, can absorb higher transaction costs and comply with regulations, and are more likely to use this option,” said the report on REITs. There are multiple advantages of REITs for both investors as well as developers or private equity. For investors, REITs offer steady returns, capital appreciation opportunity and low ticket size of investment. While for developers, it can help them to monetize the portfolio of operational assets and unlock capital and deleverage the balance sheets.

Source: The Indian Express, Friday 4 October 2019

Realtors in bankruptcy court double in past yr

The number of property developers who have been dragged to the bankruptcy court has more than doubled in less than a year as a prolonged slump in sales and the ongoing liquidity crisis make things tough for many in the country. For the period ended June 30, as many as 421 realtors were under the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP), up from 209 as of September 30 last year, data from Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India show (see graphic). Out of the 421 cases, 257 are ongoing while the remaining have been closed, which means these have been dissolved, withdrawn, or the firms faced liquidation. The number of ongoing cases will rise further unless the liquidity crisis is arrested, experts say.

The numbers, second highest after the manufacturing sector, show the dismal state of the Indian residential market, which has been hammered for half a decade. Excess inventory initially caused a slowdown, and then the sector received a hammer blow from demonetization, implementations of RERA and GST, and finally the IL&FS crisis, which stopped non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) from lending to real estate. “Most developers who have been taken to court were running unsustainably. It was already a bad situation in the last 10 years where they were borrowing to pay the interest. The working capital requirement was funded by the lenders. With the NBFC crisis, the music has stopped,” Pankaj Kapoor, founder and managing director of real estate research firm Liases Foras, said.

Source: The Times of India, Wednesday 9 October 2019

Two years since civic polls, zero property tax still a promise

Even after two-and-a-half years since civic polls, the BJP and Shiv Sena have failed to implement the poll promise of zero property tax in flats measuring up to 500 sq ft. Congress and NCP, on the other hand, have promised a property tax waiver for the whole state. The state government amended the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888 in March this as per a BMC proposal for the waiver. However, the government resolution only amended section 140 (C) of the Act which caters to the general tax component. A general tax is merely 10 per cent to 30 per cent of the total property tax whereas the other components such as water tax, storm water drainage tax, BMC education cess, state education cess, employment guarantee cess, tree cess, road tax, etc remain in force. The BMC collects approximately Rs 5,000 crore property tax, its primary source of income, every year. It collected Rs 5,082 crore in 2018-19 and has estimated a collection of Rs 5,100 crore for 2019-20. There are around 15 lakh houses in Mumbai that measure up to 500 sqft and the BMC stands to lose Rs 350 crore in revenue.

Source: Mid-Day, Thursday 10 October 2019

Why should flat owners register homes twice?

There is a follow-up on the issue of a March 2017 circular which says that residents of redeveloped buildings need to pay stamp duty to register their individual agreements. The circular does not recognise that stamp duty has already been paid at the time of the Development Agreement (DA) between builder and housing society committee. The committee represents all the members. Once the project is over, residents are shocked to learn that they have to pay stamp duty all over again to get their homes registered. The problem has sparked to life and resonated across the city, after an Andheri activist petitioned the Inspector General Registration head office in Pune. A housing expert stated in a report in this paper that it was not ethical to expect people to pay stamp duty twice. A large number of people have already moved into their homes, without paying stamp duty. They are now living in anxiety without a clear title to their name.

This must be clarified now because it is evident that people are stretched to pay this. Why should locals have to go to court, spend money, time and resources when they are already spending so much shifting into their new homes? The bigger question of course is that of injustice. You cannot and should not pay twice for something. Driven to desperation, residents are forking out once again for their individual agreements. Many though are not in a capacity to pay again. We want this issue on a party manifesto. Mumbai is battling so many real estate problems from rent to the BPT issue. We want political representatives to take cognisance of this and represent the lakhs across the city suffering because of double stamp duty. Bring clarity and most importantly bring justice. Resolve the issue now.

Source: Mid-Day, Monday 14 October 2019

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